THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION
                                        WILSTEAD / HOUGHTON CONQUEST BRANCH
                                                Contact: Anne Cox, Branch Secretary,
                                                                        01582 659334
 
At the end of World War 1 (1914 - 1918) Earl Haig, having served as an Army Officer decided that an organization should be formed to help those who suffered from a result of the war and their dependants and so in 1919 The British Legion was formed. The membership grew until it became too large to administer at Headquarters Branch, therefore cities, towns and even villages were encouraged to form their own branches and in 1930 Wilshamstead founded its own British Legion Branch.
 
Meetings were held weekly and members assisted one another, either by visits and or financially. Funds were raised by having functions in the British Legion wooden hut situated in the grounds of the 'Black Hat' public house (now Black Hat Close).
 
This continued until World War 11 (1939 - 1945) during which time the wooden hut was demolished. Monthly meetings then took place either in the Village Hall or any of the Public Houses available until the year 1986 when they were held at Wilstead Bowls Club.
 
The Royal Charter was given to the British Legion - now The Royal British Legion in the year 1975.
 
The Legion work still goes on today with help and assistance to ex-service personnel and their dependants in the village. An annual Remembrance Parade takes place through the village every November (the nearest Sunday to the 11th) when the Branch Standard is carried to the Church or Methodist Chapel after an Act of Remembrance is performed at the Village War Memorial in the Churchyard when wreaths are laid by representatives of the Legion, the Parish Council, the Brownies and the Cubs, and the names of the Wilstead men who did not return from the two wars are remembered.
 
In July 1995 a special service to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of World War 11 was held in Wilstead Village Church, after which The Royal British Legion, Wilstead Branch Standard accompanied by some twenty five members paraded through the village to the Village Hall, where about one hundred and twenty villagers from The Royal British Legion, friends and interested villagers enjoyed a buffet lunch. This was followed by a review by the people of Wilstead, their recollections, personal experiences and drama entitled ' Wilstead at War'.
 
In the year 1996 members from Houghton Conquest joined us as a sub-branch and join in our activities and support us.
 
In the year 2000, 'The Millenium' the branch with the help of the Parish Council donated a seat, which is situated at the Cross Roads. The seat is dedicated ' In memory of Wilstead men who died in the service of their country'.
 
In the year 2007 the Branch had sixty-one members. Each year an outing is organized and in recent years have visited Bletchley Park, Imperial War Museum, Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon, the National Maritime Museum / The Royal Observatory, Greenwich, The Intelligence Museum, Chicksands, Lower Stondon Transport Museum and the Imperial War Museum, Duxford

Click on this link to go to the  Roll of Honour site, Wilstead page  
www.roll-of-honour.com/Bedfordshire/WilsteadRollofHonour.html 

                                                            The Royal British Legion
                                                 Wilstead / Houghton Conquest Branch
 
The chances are you may have bought a Poppy during the Royal British Legion's (RBL) Annual Poppy Appeal. But have you ever stopped to think why you buy a Poppy ? Or indeed where the money goes and for some how the Poppy makes it possible for an emotional journey of a lifetime.
 
It is over 60 years since the end of the Second World War and many will remember the ultimate sacrifice of those who gave their lives in two World Wars. Since the end of WW2 there have been over 70 conflicts where our service men & women have been involved. Among these conflicts which include Kosovo, Bosnia and the Gulf, there has only been one year in the last fifty when a member of HM Forces has not been killed in action. Currently HM Forces are serving in Iraq where more members have lost their lives.
 
With the passing of time it is not surprising that very few people know or understand the significance of the Poppy for Remembrance Day, yet in 2002 more than 40 million poppies were made, 100,000 wreaths and 400,000 remembrance crosses distributed by a force of 300,000 voluntary groups. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that the poppy is one of the best-known charity emblems in the UK, and has become something of a national institution and therefore, part of this country's heritage. Although, the RBL receives no funding from the Government or the National Lottery.
 
However, remembrance is only half the story, as for the other 364 days the poppy is a symbol of hope to millions of ex-service people and their families. Examples of the Legion's work funded by the poppy include :
 
Rehabilitation and employment for the disabled.
Residential Care in our seven Care Homes.
Holidays for the Severely Disabled.
Financial Support for the needy.
Specialist Equipment and Resettlement Assistance.
Visit of service widows to War Graves.
Retraining and many more welfare based projects.
 
None of this work would be possible if it were not for the generosity of the public at Remembrance Time.
 
To be eligible for help of the Legion you must have been a member of HM Forces or a dependant of someone who has been a member.
 
Would you consider becoming a :
 
1. Member of the Royal British Legion ( you do not have to have served in HM Forces)
* 2. Welfare Helper
* 3. Volunteer to help with the Poppy Appeal
 
* (You can do either of these things without becoming a member of the Legion)
 

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